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Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021

We once again are using our first edition of the new year to present an intentionally idiosyncratic A-to-Z glossary of people, places and things that help make Manchester special and unique. Some letters are more challenging than others (we took creative liberty with the X) but in a town as interesting as ours, there's always a way to make things work. 
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Back To School

  • All students in the school district have been learning remotely since Dec. 14 but that changes Monday, when students who had been in buildings will be going back -- every day for PK-4 and on a hybrid basis 5-12. Students assigned to remote learning will remain fully remote for the remainder of the school year.  Read more here.
Manchester A to Z, Cont.
Before we get started: Our alphabetized inventory changes each year so we are including who or what we listed in past years. (And to see those past editions, click here for January 2019 and click here for January 2020).
Also, if you think of a person, business or whatever that we might include next year, you can let us know using this form.
Finally, we tried to include lots of small businesses and we encourage people to support not just those listed but all local entrepreneurs. OK, here we go:
A -- Accra Mall USA
A Main Street fixture for three years now, you’ll find everything from household goods to stationery to blankets to curtains to lots of hair stuff -- wigs, extensions etc. (2019-Auriemma, Geno; 2020-Angry Egg)
B -- Buckler, Matt
A long-timer at the Journal Inquirer, where he writes about radio and television as well as sports (primarily track & field and auto racing), Matt’s as  knowledgeable as he is prolific. (2019-Buckland Hills Mall; 2020-Better Manchester Magazine)
C -- CJ’s Pizza and Giant Grinders
‘Giant’ isn’t a word normally associated with food, but it fits here, with more than 20 choices on the menu and prodigious portions. (2019-Case Mountain; 2020-Chuckles)

D -- Dotti Cannon 
Rest in Peace, Dotti, who died in June and is remembered not just for her work (as the owner of Brown Sugar Catering) but for her generosity and compassion. (2019-DeValve, Seth; 2020-Daffodils)
E -- Eighth Utilities District 
People in the northern third of town are taxed separately for their fire and sanitary sewer services but their annual Christmas trees sale is open to all. (2019-East Coast Greenway; 2020-Elks Club) 
F -- Firestone, The
Painting pottery. Forming clay. Fusing glass. Now an arts studio after years as the home of Pinewood Furniture, the Firestone also has lots of scrumptious offerings in its cafe. (2019-Farr's Sporting Goods; 2020-Filomena’s on Main)

G -- Geary, Matt
School superintendents are used to being second-guessed about snow days (or not) but this year have been consumed with more vexing COVID closure questions. (2019-Garden Club; 2020-Garden,Spruce Street Community)
H -- Hop Brook
It’s formed when Porter Brook and Birch Mountain Brook merge (in Charter Oak Park, near the I-384 underpass that leads to Mt. Nebo) and, like any good brook, often babbles pleasantly.
(2019-Humans of Manchester; 2020-Highland Park Market)
I -- Illing Middle School
A middle schooler can be energetic and lethargic and shrewd and foolish and responsible and immature -- and that’s just in the first period of the day. (2019-Imagine Main Street; 2020-Ice Cream, Royal)

J -- Johnson’s Seafood
Salmon, snapper, catfish, cod. You won't find a marina in Manchester but this downtown eatery has become a favorite haunt for many. (2019-Journal Inquirer; 2020-JCPenney Warehouse)
K -- King Donuts
Dunkin dominates the donut market in Manchester (and all of New England) but Kings has found a niche, having built a loyal following at shops on both Hartford and Green roads. (2019-Kechejian, Judy; 2020-Keropian, Michael)
L -- Labyrinth Brewing Company
Their story is great (three longtime friends bonded while brewing in a garage and decided to quit jobs and open a pub) and their craft beers are irresistible, too. (2019-Little Theater of Manchester; 2020-Lincoln Center)

M -- Mulberry Street Pizza
The Mulb more than a decade ago did takeout pizza only in a shop where Spring Street meets Main.  As a Downtown cornerstone, it has a varied menu and a bar that channels Cheers. (2019-Music Garden; 2020-MELC)
N -- Naa Addy Enterprises
As the sign out front says, they have imported fabric and home goods but there’s so much more, including African foods like Kenkey, a husk-wrapped Ghanaian dish made from corn maize.
(2019-Nike Site; 2020-Northwest Park)
O -- 21 Oak
They serve only plant-based foods (including delicious black bean and mushroom veggie burgers) and it’s all either pickup or delivery these days but one thing hasn’t changed -- you don’t have to call and ask "where are you located?” (2019-Oak Grove Nature Center; 2020-OneManchester)

P -- P&P Auto Repair
Engine making a funny noise? Some people just turn up the radio (guilty!) but smart people bring it to a mechanic. Popular options in town also include KB, Jay’s, Lapointe’s, Ex-Per Tech and more. But don't take our word; ask around. (2019-Pitkin Glass; 2020-PJ Day)

Q -- Quast Media
A digital marketing company in the Watkins Building (at 935 Main Street), they do cool stuff like 360-degree video production, augmented and virtual reality experiences, and 3D holographic projection. (2019-Queen, as in Dairy; 2020-Queenie Foundation)

R -- Rotary Club
Rotarians have been putting ‘Service Above Self’ for a long time, among many examples their work on the Rotary in Motion extravaganza based at Charter Oak Park, which is also home of its music garden. (2019-Round Table Singers; 2020-Red Hawks)
S -- Summit Studios
Musicians (and people of all ages learning to play instruments) have been knocked astride by the pandemic, but Tom Deffenbaugh’s now-20-year-old business is offering lessons and classes online and eager for clients to be back in the building. (2019-Squire Village; 2020-Shady Glen)

T -- Thomas' Smokey Pit Stop
Bad timing: Darryl and Cassandra Thomas opened their restaurant March 18, just as the state was shutting down. But this BBQ gets rave reviews and many people wary of going out have decided to risk it for their brisket. (2019-Time Machine Hobby; 2020-Troubador-to-Door)

U -- Up, Power
OK, it’s ‘Power Up’ but we need a ‘U’ -- just as the community needed someone like Keren Prescott to jumpstart a whole ‘nother level of social justice activism after the death of George Floyd. (2019-Union Pond; 2020-Urban Lodge)
V -- Village Charm
There are more than 20 other Manchesters across the country  and a city of more than 500,000 people in England bearing our name, but only one that’s a town billed as a city that feels like a village.
(2019-Vietnam Memorial Monument; 2020-Valedictorian Matt Barnwell)
W -- Wooster Street Pizza, Randy’s
Many argue that New Haven is the pizza capital of the country and years ago Manchester peeps needed to drive an hour for a slice of pie heaven, but now there are awesome options all over. Randy’s gets points for longevity (going on 25 years now) and its Hot Wheels theme. (2019-WORK_SPACE; 2020-Westown Pharmacy)
Railroad crossing sign

Another difficult letter so we are opting here for a shape -- the ‘X’ marking a railroad crossing. This, though, begs two questions: when was the last time a train rolled through Manchester? And what do bus drivers think about as they stop before crossing abandoned tracks?
(2019-Xtra Mart; 2020-Xylophonist Grace Reid)
Located in the Hilliard Mills, this studio has a variety of classes (power vinyasa, yin yoga, asana playground) but a common goal, ‘making your life healthier, happier and better.’ (2019-Youth Service Bureau; 2020-Yoga, Moonlit)
Z - ZIP codes
Ever wonder about the 06040/06042 breakdown in town? No? Well, we did. It’s basically Middle Turnpike bumping north in a few neighborhoods -- near Adams Street, Cambridge Street, Illing and the such. Btw, we’ll tackle the in-between 06041 another time. (2019-Zipser Club; 2020-Zingler, Kevin)
More School Info
A reminder -- this is the district's remote meal pickup schedule:
  • Bennet -- 11:00 a.m.-noon
  • Buckley, Waddell & MHS -- noon-1 p.m.
  • MHS -- 3-4 p.m. (includes frozen items for next-day lunch)
  • The district website has lots of other news and information including a COVID dashboard.
  • Problems with devices? Contact the Family IT Helpdesk using this link or call or text 860-682-0607 (M-F; 8 a.m.-3 p.m.)
News, Notes Etc.

MLK Event: The town's 36th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration will be held virtually on Tuesday from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Click here for more.
Tree Meals Each Day

Goats at Aussakita Acres Farm (555 Lydall Street) have been feasting on Christmas trees that people drop off. For more check out this segment that was on NBC-Connecticut.
OneManchester is compiled by Jim Farrell of the school district's communications office and he can be reached at or 860-268-6377. OneManchester has been published since August 2017, is always free, and has not been hacked since Sept. 12, 2019, Want to subscribe? Just click here